‘Free business reviews for SMEs’: Enterprise Connect

Free business reviews and supporting grants are now being offered to defence industry SMEs through the Federal Government’s $50 million-a-year Enterprise Connect Initiative.

Mr Tony Quick, Director of the Defence Industry Innovation Centre (DIIC) briefed defence industry SMEs on the new services available to them last week at a breakfast held by the Australian Industry & Defence Network Victoria (AIDN-Vic) in Chadstone, Victoria.

Mr Quick told attendees the new Centre would help SMEs become more competitive both in Australia and internationally and enhance their efficiency, productivity and responsiveness.

“Eligible SMEs are matched with an experienced Business Advisor who will help them identify strengths and opportunities, assess potential areas for growth and improvement and access world-class business tools, processes and technology. This is provided at no financial cost to the firm.

“Following this process, Enterprise Connect will encourage SMEs to implement the findings of the Business Review by providing financial support.  Enterprise Connect contributes half the cost of approved advisory projects, up to a maximum of $20,000.”

Enterprise Connect would also help SMEs access opportunities available at the Defence Materials Technology Centre, Mr Quick said.

DMTC is a joint venture between defence industry, universities and government research agencies focused on enhancing Australia’s defence capability through the development of new materials and manufacturing technologies.

It offers SMEs a clear path to delivering on the specific needs of the Australian Defence Force through a collaborative and integrated supply chain model.

Mr Quick said key elements of DIIC’s strategy were to:

·         assist SMEs to enter the Defence supply chain

·         increase the productivity of SMEs in the Defence supply chain

·         increase the productivity of the Defence supply chain

·         assist SMEs to diversify within Australia

·         assist SMEs to become ready for export

“Defence is a global business – the US obviously has a dominant role, and overseas-sourced equipment dominates Australian defence purchases,” he said.

“Anyone who supplies to DMO knows that demand comes in lumps and if you were relying on that as your only order it would be a long time between drinks.

“Defence export helps smooth Australian Defence demand and in some instances is the major route for defence manufacturers.

“Defence are supportive of export needs and have various programs, including DEU, AIC and JSF IT. Our role at here at DIIC is to help Defence SMEs to be export-ready.”

Mr Quick said support was gathering among prime Defence industry players to bring a industry wide continuous improvement program based on a similar UK initiative known as SC21 (Supply chain 21st Century) to Australia.  He said Enterprise Connect would help SMEs implement the program, which is designed to accelerate the competitiveness of the aerospace and defence industry by raising the performance of its supply chains.

He noted that while supply chain improvements inevitably required financial commitment by SMEs, the return on investment was always worthwhile and critical to the long term viability of the company.

For support from the centre, a Defence SME is defined as an Australian-based company (ACN) with turnover less than $100m, which is providing or has the capacity to provide defence specific goods or services in a supply chain which leads to a department of Defence.


Posted by DMTC on September 13th, 2009